Grammar school FAQs

Everything you need to know about the 11+ exams for grammar schools

What is the 11+?

The 11+ is a selective entrance examination that is used by grammar schools in the UK. While the 11+ is no longer a compulsory test for non-selective comprehensive schools, it continues to be used in those areas with grammar schools, and also by some selective independent schools, to examine both academic ability and potential.

The exam is taken by students in the Autumn term of Year 6 (aged 10-11) and is part of the admissions process for Year 7.

For more information, visit the Bond’s guidance page here.

What is covered in the 11+?

There are 11+ papers in the following subjects: English, maths, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning.

  • English: Although 11+ English exams can vary from region to region, the key topics that your child will be tested on are comprehension, writing tasks, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. 
  • Maths: This paper will assess maths concepts and skills, problem solving in multiple stages and mental maths.
  • Verbal reasoning: This paper revolves around problem solving and sequences related to words and text.
  • Non-verbal reasoning: This paper asks your child to solve problems involving pictures and diagrams.

For more information, visit the Bond’s guidance page here.

You can provide your child with personalised test preparation with Bond Online Premium, an AI-powered learning platform where your child can access learning and exam preparation resources for 11+ English, maths, non-verbal reasoning and verbal reasoning.

Can my child take the 11+ exam for multiple schools?

Yes, your child can take the 11+ exam for multiple grammar schools, but they may need to register separately for some exams depending on the local region. If in doubt you can always check with your selected school(s).

How do I register my child for the 11+ exam?

Registration opening for the 11+ exam varies depending on your local authority and the school you would like to register your child for. We would advise that to be safe it is best to check directly with the school or schools you are interested in registering your child for. There is no harm in doing this in advance, as registration can open in some local authorities as early as March.

When will my child sit the 11+?

For most grammar schools, the 11+ exam will occur during the first two weeks of September, but some schools may vary, so it is best to check the dates with each individual school your child is applying to.

When will we get the results?

For the majority of grammar schools, the results will be issued in the middle of October. However, this is also dependent on your target school, as well as the area you are in.

How long is the exam?

11+ exams are timed and generally last between 45-60 minutes.

For more information, visit the Bond guidance page here.

Who provides the 11+ exam?

The GL (Granada Learning) assessment is the largest provider of 11+ exams for grammar schools in England.

CEM is another provider of grammar school exams. As of 2022, CEM exams can only be taken online.

There can be significant differences in the exam papers issued by these two exam boards. Therefore you should check with your local authority and grammar schools which provider they use. Not all schools use all four papers for the 11+. Some may only require your child to sit papers in English and maths, others may only require verbal and non-verbal reasoning. We recommend you check this information directly with your local authority and the school to make sure you know which papers your child will be sitting.

Bond have provided a useful checklist of details to ask your chosen school(s):

  • When is the 11+ exam?
  • Which subjects are tested?
  • How many questions will there be in the 11+ paper? 
  • What format does the exam take?
  • Who provides the exam?

Click here to find out more information about the differences between GL and CEM 11+ from Bond.

Do I need to hire a tutor for the 11+ exam?

As a parent you know your child best and this choice will come down to their individual needs. Tutoring is incredibly beneficial for some students, but it is not necessarily right for everyone.

There are many resources available to help your child prepare for the 11+ exam, including practice books and online resources that will support your child in their preparation for the exam either independently or alongside tutoring.

Bond Online Premium has over 8,000 questions specifically designed and tailored to support and stretch your child to prepare effectively for the 11+.

How can I support my child’s preparation for the 11+ exam?

You can support your child to prepare for the 11+ with test preparation materials and practice tests. Practising writing, maths, verbal and non-verbal skills can help your child improve. Encouraging your child to read widely can also be beneficial.

Exam preparation is hard work. Being supportive and positive at home throughout the process can make all the difference.

Bond Online Premium has a dedicated Test Practice Area, with over 8,000 practice questions.

We have created a poster for your child to help them prepare for the exam using Bond Online Premium that you can access here.

Can my child take the 11+ exam if they are in a different year group?

The 11+ exam is specifically designed for students in their final year of primary school. Students in other year groups are not eligible to take the exam.

What happens if my child misses the 11+ exam?

If your child misses the 11+ exam, they may still be able to apply for admission to a grammar school. However, they will need to follow the school’s alternative admission process, which may include an interview or other assessments.